Last night i was at very sheek cafe with a friend and her beautiful 18 months old daughter. The place was simple but yet elegant, the lighting gave it a very cozy feeling, and the pastries in the display reminded me of the simple pleasures of life. I greatly admired how the space was decorated and the lighting set up – the three of us where enjoying the place tremendously with two lattes, cookies and a tasty looking tuto.
Behind every work of art there is always a brilliant and enthusiastic thinker, and i thought of how wonderful it would be to have such a profession in life – to be a maker of things. To create a space so simple but yet give a sense of ease and comfort to people who use it everyday is one of those things which we neglect to appreciate in our everyday lives but which serve us greatly. I thought… oh how wonderful it would be to be able to create things with just my hands and my imagination!
It got me thinking – maybe i would have loved to become a decorator, a cook, a carpenter, a gardener – as my main profession I mean – maybe I’d have even been great at it. But it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. Growing up in Ethiopia, no one gives you the space to explore these options. I know i can’t speak for everyone, but I’m willing bet that’s the case for the majority of us habeshas. I can almost picture it- a boy walks home, back from school and enthusiastically declares abaye abaye beka sadeg yemehonewen awkalew. Father says men leje? The boy goes Anati! can’t you just picture the father: leziw new ehe hulu lefate belo arif tefi lejun siyakemsew. I sure can. Most parents send their kids to school in the hopes providing their kids with greater possibilities and in the Ethiopian reality those possibilities are rarely found in being Anati.
I wondered how many of us actually dreamed of becoming what we wanted to become. Not only because we weren’t encouraged to explore different possibilities but also because we didn’t even know some possibilities even existed – who knew there were Cryptozoologists! ( incase you didn’t know it’s the study of animals that are not currently empirically proven to exist!) – gize siteref yeluachuhal. What’s more interesting is that most of us don’t quite realize it – it is almost second nature to us Ethiopians to be practical – get a job that brings in the money, the respect, keza demo arif mist/bal…
Well, I guess one of the perks of being in the developed West is the wider pool of possibilities. In the developed West, if basic conditions are met, you can become what it is you really want to be and still be practical and make a living out of it. But as an Ethiopian you know that you can’t aspire to became “the cake boss,” when you know there isn’t enough bread to eat at home. That’s the reality – a not so pleasant one…
But as i ponder about this reality, sitting on my bed typing these words, i realize something – at the end of the day, i’m grateful, actually happy, i was raised to be practical. I may have been a fabulous home decorator or a sesky anati, but what i currently aspire to become – my practical dream – shall suffice, because what it will do is contribute to the widening of possibilities for generations to come and narrow the gap between the practical and the dream. In the mean time… i shall soon head back to that cafe and take delight in a cheese cake i had my eyes on.
Until next time, beselam yagenagnen.